Naval Station Port Elizabeth hosts Divex 2017
The SA Navy has just completed its annual diving exercise in Port Elizabeth where more than 60 SAN clearance divers conducted exhaustive refresher training. The “frogmen” of the maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) used part of their time in the Eastern Cape metro hosting a hands-on careers event for local scholars. A group of 150 students from the Masiphatisane, Loyiso and Khwezi Lomso secondary schools had a first-hand view of an air sea rescue in Port Elizabeth harbour. They saw divers exiting a SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron, Charlie Flight, BK-117 helicopter and then being winched safely winched up. The scholars were also given insights into the mysteries of the decompression chambers, the three metre drive training tank (used for emergency procedure training) and underwater damage control equipment used to repair vessels and clear underwater obstructions. “The benefits of a SAN diving career including protecting South Africa’s important maritime domain and travel opportunities as part of foreign visits were explained to them as was the necessity of good maths and physical science passes,” said Commander Cara Pratten, Naval Base Simon’s town media officer. The refresher part of Divex was conducted under the eagle eye of Commander Wayne Combrink as mission commander, supported by Lieutenant Commander MJ Lebea as chief of staff.
Divex annually sees air and sea rescue training, underwater damage control, bottom searches and capacity building for instrument fitters training. This is to bring the diving capability at Naval Station Port Elizabeth to a benign level of capability (BLOC) status.